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GRAPPLING WITH GREED

Exodus 20:17

The Lord – “Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else your neighbor owns.” (Exodus 20:17)

  • What would you be willing to do for $10 million?
  • “25% of Americans would abandon their families, 23% would become a prostitute for a week, 7% would murder a stranger, 25% would abandon their church, 16% would give up their American citizenship, 16% would leave their spouses, 10% would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free, and 3% would put up their children for adoption for $10 million.” (The Day America Told The Truth, James Patterson, and Peter Kim)
  • Covetousness is the overwhelming “desire to acquire” or “a need birthed by greed.”
  • The desire to “have more” is from God – and is not bad unless it consumes us.
  • It’s not wrong to have desires for better things – but it is wrong when we are obsessed with getting what others have or what we think we need to have.
  • Covetousness is a sin that is often hidden from others, but it is a sin that hinders our fellowship with God, and keeps us from His best in our lives.
  • “Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or GREED among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.” (Ephesians 5:3)
  • What are some steps we can take to address and overcome the struggle with “covetousness” in our lives?

Overcoming Our Struggle With Covetousness Requires:
DISCOVERING THE CONSEQUENCES OF GREED

  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
  • “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear…Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19, 21)
  • “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature.” (Galatians 6:8)
  • We can choose our choices, but not the consequences of our choices.

Being Covetous/Greedy Often Brings:

  • PHYSICAL DEMISE TO OUR LIVES
    • “Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.” (Proverbs 23:4)
  • FINANCIAL DEBT TO OUR LIVES
    • “The more you have, the more you spend, right up to the limits of your income.” (Ecclesiastes 5:11 LB)
  • EMOTIONAL DISTRESS TO OUR LIVES
    • “People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich (covetous) seldom get a good night’s sleep.” (Ecclesiastes 5:12)
  • RELATIONAL DISAGREEMENTS TO OUR LIVES
    • “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.” (James 4:1-2)
  • MENTAL DISSATISFACTION TO OUR LIVES
    • “Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
    • Wealth or things can only bring us temporal happiness.
  • SPIRITUAL DECLINE TO OUR LIVES
    • “Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)
  • “Even though I’ve conquered the world, I can carry nothing with me into the hereafter.” (Alexander the Great)
  • What are some “things” that I have coveted after, and how has that covetousness impacted my life?

Overcoming Our Struggle With Covetousness Requires:
DETERMINING TO CONQUER OUR GREED

  • Paul – “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11)
  • We need to take some steps that will enable us to develop contentment rather than covetousness in our lives.

We Move From Covetousness To Contentment By:

  • ACKNOWLEDGING COVETOUSNESS IN OUR HEARTS
    • “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
    • Pretending that we don’t covet is not the same as overcoming covetousness.
    • “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” (1 John 1:8)
  • BREAKING FREE OF COVETOUS DESIRES
    • “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9)
    • God will forgive us and deliver us from covetousness, but we need to maintain that freedom by rebuking covetous desires when we have them.
    • “For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.” (1 Peter 2:16)
  • CALIBRATING OUR INCOME AND EXPENSES
    • Coveting often leads us to have “champagne taste on a beer budget.”
    • “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5)
    • One critical step in overcoming covetousness is developing and living by a budget.
    • “A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” – Dave Ramsey
    • Everydollar.com hosts Christian-based resources for setting and living on a budget.
  • DECIDING TO BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT WE HAVE
    • “When God gives any man wealth and possessions and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:19)
    • Often an attitude of gratitude is the difference between covetousness and contentment.
    • “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • ENGAGING IN GENEROSITY TO THE LORD AND OTHERS
    • Jesus – “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
    • “Outrageous generosity is a character quality of people who win with money.” – Dave Ramsey
    • Displaying generosity is how we prove to the Lord, the world, and ourselves that we are overcoming covetousness.
      One way we can be generous at the end of 2021 is by giving generously to Celebration’s Everyone Needs Jesus Christmas Missions Offering.
  • “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessings if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:8-10)
  • “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)
  • Satisfaction can only come from a decision to be content with what the Lord has provided for us in our lives.
  • “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from You alone, for You rule over everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and at Your discretion, people are made great and given strength.” (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
  • When we focus on growing closer to the Lord rather than “gaining more,” that’s when we will experience real joy, peace, and purpose in our lives.
  • What is the Lord saying to me through this message, and what am I going to do in response to this message?

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FIRST STEPS is the membership course for Celebration Church. This four-week course is designed to help the participant understand his first steps at Celebration Church, all the while setting him up for his next steps of growth and service.

  • Introduces Salvation, Baptism and Christian Growth.
  • History and Vision of Celebration
  • Promotes Worship Service Attendance and Church Involvement
  • Introduces Celebration Statement of Beliefs
  • Launches Participants into Life Group
  • Introduces Celebration Serve Team Categories
  • Launches Participants into Serve Teams
  • Introduces Celebration Church Values and Spiritual Freedom
  • Reviews Membership Expectations
  • Launches Participants towards NEXT STEPS and DISCIPLESHIP PATHWAYS

The FIRST STEPS course takes place on four consecutive weeks

(Lesson One = Week One, Lesson Two = Week Two…). If someone misses a week one month, they can return the following month and make it up. Although people can start at any point, the flow of the course works better if they begin on Week one.

PASTORS ARTICLE

 

Hello Church Members and Guests,

Today we’re concluding our Written In Stone series, based on God’s 10 Commandments. We’ve been learning from the 10 Commandments how to live healthier, happier and holier lives. This week’s message is titled, “Grappling With Greed.” Many people in our day are focused on “the desire to acquire”, when the Lord wants so much more for our lives. Our Pastors and I are praying that you will be encouraged as you participate with us in today’s Worship Service and learn this important lesson from God’s Word.

This week we are also continuing to collect our annual Everyone Needs Jesus Christmas Missions Offering. This is an offering above our regular Church offering that goes directly to support Missions ministries and missionaries. To learn more about this special offering and those that will be supported by it, go to www.celebrationchurch.org/christmasoffering.

Next weekend we will begin a short Christmas sermon series titled, Expect The Unexpected. In this sermon series we will be learning from the opening chapters of Matthew’s Gospel about some challenges and blessings we can expect this Christmas season. Invite your friends and family members to join us next weekend and for all of December.

December 24 we will be having our Christmas Eve services that will include Christmas Carols, Communion, a special time for Children and much more. Some of these special one hour Christmas services will also include Candlelight times of worship. These are always some of our “highlight services” of the year, so be sure to ask your friends and family members to join you for one of our Christmas Eve services. Check your Campus social media pages for Christmas Eve service times. 

As always, we are grateful for the prayer, serving and giving support of our Church family. To learn more about those opportunities, contact your Campus Pastor or one of your Campus Leaders, or email us at info@celebrationchurch.org. And please be sure to let us know today on your Communication Card or at webcc.info how we can pray for and help you.

Dennis Watson

Lead Pastor, Celebration Church

KIDS & TEENS MINISTRIES

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Kidztown Children’s Ministry is all about partnering with parents to disciple the children who attend our church. Our Uptown ministry targets 1st through 4th Grade students, and our Downtown ministry is aimed at Birth to Kindergarten students. Each ministry area is a safe, secure and nurturing educational environment with our leaders and trained volunteers.

The Children’s Ministry of Celebration Church has a three-fold life purpose for every child, which is no different than the purpose for an adult’s life!

We want children to:

• Learn about Jesus
• Live for Jesus
• Let others know about Jesus

Our three-fold life purpose is designed to be experienced by our babies and toddlers just as much as it can be experienced by our elementary students. We want our babies to feel the love of Jesus the minute they come through our doorway.
As songs are sung and stories are read, children will understand that they are special in God’s Kingdom and will begin to open up their hearts and minds to receive the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. Our goal is for every child to become fully devoted followers of Christ, by asking Jesus to be their forever friend!

It is our privilege to partner with parents, grandparents and other significant adults in a child’s life as we embark on this journey together. The precious children that have been entrusted to our loving care are a treasure to us as well. We believe there is no greater call that to make a difference in the life of a child.

Visit our website by clicking the button below to meet our staff or apply to become a volunteer.

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Midpoint is a ministry just for 5th through 7th graders. Because we know that kids at this age are trying to figure out whether they are children or pre-teens, our Midpoint leaders work hard to create a “cool” atmosphere in the context of a very safe and protected environment. Their leaders and pastors teach them an age-appropriate message and then the young people are challenged to talk through how to apply those biblical principles to their lives in small group discussions.

Midpoint meets during all weekend worship services. Students join their parents for the music portion of the service and then are dismissed during the video announcements where leaders take them to their designated ministry area. Midpoint also has periodic outreach events, parties, field trips, games, crafts and other fun experiences centered around 5th through 7th graders.

Visit our website by clicking the button below to meet our staff or apply to become a volunteer.

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The Social Youth Ministry is designed so our teenagers (8th-12th grade) can meet weekly for a fun, exciting, and relevant youth service that focuses on challenging teenagers in their daily lives. This service is planned with the intention of encouraging, motivating, and inspiring young people to overcome the challenges they face in life and to make a difference in the world they live in through Jesus Christ! All of our youth services are relevant to the searching teen, understandable to the new believer, and challenging for the mature believer. Throughout the week youth meet in small groups called Life Groups. Life Groups provide a community experience where teens can share what is happening in their lives and hold each other accountable for following the Bible lessons learned in their weekly Wednesday night service. Visit our website by clicking the button below to meet our staff or apply to become a volunteer.

 

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CHRISTMAS EVE

PASTORS ARTICLE

Dear Celebration Members and Guests,

Welcome to Christmas Eve at Celebration – where God is met, Love is felt and Lives are changed. Our Pastors, Leaders and I pray that you will be encouraged by today’s service.

Christmas is about God’s Son bringing hope and transformation to our world, and at Celebration people from all walks of life are experiencing Lord’s hope, joy and peace. Children and Teens in our Church are growing up to be strong, positive and spiritual individuals. College Students, Single Adults and Couples are learning how to have stronger lives and relationships as they find God’s purpose for their lives. Senior Adults are also finding new purpose as they mentor and minister to the generations that follow them. And many people are finding help, hope and healing for their lives through the ministries of our Church.

Through our Life Group ministry and other ministries, great friendships are being established, people are growing stronger spiritually and relationally, and they are learning how to have a positive influence on the world around them.

We would love for you to join us in upcoming weeks to discover more about God’s purposes and plans for your life, and to learn how you can experience His best in your life. In January we are beginning the TRANSFORMED spiritual growth emphasis. In this special emphasis we’re going to learn how to “transform” our lives, circumstances and relationships so we can become “transformers” of the culture around us.

To benefit fully from TRANSFORMED, our Pastors and I are sharing some critical concepts on upcoming weekends that will help us all prepare to become “transformed.”

  • On December 26-27 we will learn “How God Changes Us.”
  • On December January 2-3 we will learn about “The Five Habits Of Healthy People”
  • On January 9-10 we will learn “How To Have A Great Support System In Our Lives”

In the weeks that follow as we begin TRANSFORMED, we will learn in our Life Groups and In-person and Online Worship Services: 1) How To Set Personal Goals By Faith, 2) How To Get Close To God, 3) How To Move From Stressed To Blessed In Our Lives, 4) How To Change Our Lives By Changing Our Minds, 5) How To Overcome Fears That Ruin Relationships and much more. All of those teachings can be accessed Online as well as in In-person Life Groups and Worship Services. We would love for you to be a part of our TRANSFORMED emphasis.

Also to help people experience the transforming power of the Lord throughout 2021, we’re offering our Journey Through The Bible adventure that begins on January 1. Through daily podcasts and/or written devotions I’m going to be leading our people to read and journey through the entire Bible in 2021 in a way that will help them learn the stories and principles of the Bible and bring transformation to their lives, circumstances and relationships. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in a great adventure through 2021. Sign up today to be a part of the Journey Through The Bible adventure (www.celebrationchurch.org/devotions).

This month, we are still collecting our EVERYONE NEEDS JESUS Christmas/Missions Offering. Our Christmas/Missions Offering goes directly to support Missionaries, Mission Ministries, and Mission Projects locally and around the world. We ask our People to give to this offering above their regular offering as a “Christmas gift to Jesus” to further support His work. You can give to the Everyone Needs Jesus offering today along with your regular offering, or you can give online at www.celebrationchurch.org/christmasoffering.

Thanks again for joining us for our Christmas service. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Thanks for joining us today,

Dennis Watson

Lead Pastor, Celebration Church